All about Tretinoin


All about Tretinoin

28 April 2023

Tretinoin is a retinoid cream. Retinoids are derivatives of Vitamin A – you’ve probably come across several types of retinoids in face creams, for example retinol or retinal (retinaldehyde). Tretinoin however is is only available on prescription.

Tell me more…

Dermatologists love tretinoin because it’s very effective at treating acne, as well skin ageing, texture and and hyperpigmentation. It’s been around for a few decades and has a robust amount of evidence behind it (independent clinical trials) demonstrating its efficacy. Tretinoin works by reducing inflammation , preventing follicular plugging and increasing skin cell turnover (replacing old with new cells) and stimulating collagen and elastin. Sounds great- are there any side effects? Tretinoin can be irritating if you have sensitive skin and/ or you are starting on a high concentration. The best way to avoid this is to start low (i.e a low concentration of tretinoin) and go slow – apply it a couple of times a week rather than every night, and be generous with the moisturiser. This gives your skin a chance to adjust and build up tolerance. Avoid using tretinoin in pregnancy and when breastfeeding and always use a high SpF as it can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. So with this in mind, how do you get your hands on it? Well as mentioned before, tretinoin is only available on prescription in the UK and there are limited strengths and formulations of tretinoin available on the NHS. You can get it through virtual dermatology platforms such as Skin & Me, Dermatica and here at Uncouth. Our derm providers can prescribe tretinoin in a formulation and concentration to suit your skin and adapt it over time as your skin adapts.

So what does it do again?

  • Treat acnes, oiliness and clogged pores
  • Helps with signs of skin ageing
  • Helps with hyperpigmentation and dark spots


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